17 December, 2008

Interview with a Bookbinder

This is one of my side jobs and hobbies. I love bookbinding and restoration. Abebooks.com has interviewed a master bookbinder for their latest online issue of "The Avid Reader." ~ Here are just a couple of snippets, but you can read the whole interview here.

"Dave Allen is a surviving member of an endangered species - a professional bookbinder. Pick up your Yellow Pages - there won't be many listed. Bookbinding is a highly skilled craft requiring enormous patience, concentration and knowledge. It is also a profession kept alive by a few dedicated bibliophiles like Allen."

and another quote:

"By the time he’s finished with this edition, he will have ripped off the spine (it is barely attached), reattached it, oversewn where the pages have come loose while maintaining as much original thread as possible, repaired numerous rips and tears, and more. When he tells me what the book is valued at, how long he will spend with the book and what he charges, his services seem like a bargain."

True, so true...yet it is time well-spent!


Snowflake Patterns

Make your own snowflakes! We've already tried these, and they are beautiful. Boys and girls alike will enjoy these. They look great hanging in the windows!



16 December, 2008

A Beethoven Solo for Barking Dog?

In honor of Beethoven's Birthday, a twist of a reminder of the wonderful conclusion of his Fifth Symphony. Enjoy!! (This is one of my favorite poems).

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

~ Billy Collins

Happy Birthday, Beethoven

Happy Birthday, Beethoven!

Beethoven was my first favorite composer that I enjoyed as a child. My mother used to play his "Moonlight Sonata" on our old piano when I was in middle school. In high school, I studied Beethoven for my Music Appreciation class my senior year, and wrote a long paper about him. He has always been a personal favorite of mine, even as I grew to appreciate other composers throughout the years.

Musically yours,


11 December, 2008

Christmas Carols in Spanish

Some of my students from my Spanish classes (along with their parents) have joined me in gathering presents to deliver to needy families this weekend. We will be helping my friend Señora Smith. As we deliver goodies, we will get to do some caroling in Spanish as we go. I thought I'd include a link here on the blog for any who'd like recommendations for a big list of Christmas carols in Spanish.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Señora Javamom

10 December, 2008

Life Transitions and Gratitude

It's hard to know what to write about sometimes. We are busy working away here at home, and are loaded down with blessings and challenges, both large and small. Things have been going steadily about.

Blessed things we've observed and been a part of in the past week or two:

~ The first Robin of the season came to our birdbath this week

~ School work moves forward, slowly but surely. Each of our teens still at home has had their own small successes this fall. Our daughter, a senior taking dual-credit classes at a local college, scored a 102 on her college history test!!

~ 15.5 yo son is progressing well in Spanish and Biology

~ 13.5 yo son is doing well in piano. He's also reading and remembering facts & details a little better each week. He's still impulsive, repetitive, and silly sometimes, but he is *creative.* That is in him for a reason, we are just trying to see where it will go with him, and how best to guide him. He is constant in taking responsibility for his bunny's care.

~ Our oldest, who turns 20 this month, came down from Omaha for a week-long visit. It was so good to see him and provide some rest, food, hospitality for him. He is making plans for a future with a fantastic gal, one whom I am enjoying getting to know and treat like a daughter.

~ Watching The Sound of Music with *all* the kids, guy and gal best friends included

~ Opening our home to the kids' best friends and some of their parents, too!

~ Getting to enjoy dinner in their home, as well :-)

~ Planning a Spanish Class ministry of adopting and buying for several Latino kids this Christmas

~ Putting up our Christmas tree with some of the kids while listening to oldies music

~ Making trips to the library a weekly habit once again

~ watching the boys stay in a good routine of a few basic chores and schoolwork...even the 13 yo...though Math is still very much a challenge for him.

~ Teaching Spanish I and II and enjoying the challenge of providing some fun learning opportunities along the way

~ seeing restoration of books through to the end, wathcing the look on owner's faces when they receive their books back in restored and preserved condition for their own children to enjoy

~ cooking up a storm for a week for a crowd (from scratch)!

~ picking the last of our fresh garden tomatoes and peppers

~ now it's cold enough to throw the extra quilt on the bed (I love this time of year, transitioning into the cold part of fall just before winter)

~ The blessing of sleeping later is such a treat. We keep a later schedule around here, as my most productive hours are around midnight, and the kids may be working or have friends over, as well.

~ the fun of planning and preparing Christmas baskets

~ grateful above all for the Lord' provision